Who's Ready for Atlanta?

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My, what a difference a year can make. At the Direct Marketing Association's fall conference last year - I guess I'll call it DMA•04 - search was barely on the schedule. This year, there are at least a dozen sessions devoted to the topic and more than two dozen companies offering search-related services. However, those extra search firms haven't stemmed the decline in total number of exhibitors. As of last week, 515 companies were signed up, down from 550 last year and 570 in 2003. As for the number of attendees, that will remain a mystery, unless the DMA changes policy and starts releasing attendance figures again.

Still, attendees can expect plenty to do and see in and around the conference. For the latest and greatest on that, don't forget to check out DM News' blog (my shameless plug of the week) for everything about the show that doesn't fit into our regular coverage: parties, gossip, the buzz on the floor and insights from our blogging partners at Wunderman.

Also among our special coverage, next week we'll have DM News' Essential Guide to E-Mail Marketing. Like this summer's guide to search, the e-mail guide will be chock-full of case studies, best practices, research and more. We'll also feature an excerpt from the new book by Don Libey and Christopher Pickering, "Libey and Pickering on RFM and Beyond." With its hand-drawn charts and practical applications, the book updates Libey's classic on recency, frequency and monetary value. It's the first book published under the MeritDirect Press stamp.

I don't know about you but I'm ready to live in the world Libey describes in the segment on the next big thing - what he calls the WorldNet, though he may have to dicker with AT&T over the name: "Access will encompass every known communication device. There will be no need for subscription service; no roaming or geographic limitations. Wherever you are, you'll access a vast hyper-connected world and have the capability of obtaining anything you can imagine. Credit cards will be obsolete; credit units will be instantly exchanged for goods and services anywhere on the globe. ... The WorldNet will be everywhere and will access everything, instantly and universally. ... [It] also will create the next descriptive change for our industry: UniChannel Marketing - totally direct; totally integrated; all conceivable access points and all conceivable sales channels."

Intrigued? Check out next week's issue for an excerpt detailing the future of marketing channels or go to DMNews.com for that excerpt and others. Or go buy the book.

Tad Clarke is editor in chief of DM News. His editorial appears Mondays on www.dmnews.com and in our e-mail newsletter. You can subscribe to our e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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